Lewis Hamilton says he felt like “public enemy number one” in Brazil, after beating Felipe Massa for the 2008 title, but this changed over time.
Back in 2008, Lewis Hamilon beat Brazilian Felipe Massa for the world title on the last corner of the final lap of the last race of the season – the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Of course, this disappointed a lot of local fans, however all these year later, Brazilians absolutely love Lewis.
Not only is Brazil the home country of Lewis’ hero Ayrton Senna, but it is now Lewis’ second home too, after he was awarded honorary citizenship in 2022.
The Briton says racing in Brazil has always held a special place in his heart.
“Yeah, so it’s been a special race for me,” Lewis said ahead of the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend.
“I mean, I won my first World Championship here. It was kind of crazy back then, because I kind of felt like public enemy number one. Obviously, I was racing against Felipe.
“But the growth that I’ve felt here and the reception that I’ve had here, the amazing support…
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“But I mean just as a kid, growing up at home, being a fan of football, for example. Always loved the Brazilian colours.
“And me and my brother would play FIFA, for example, and he would always take England, so I’d always take Brazil.
“And then there was Ayrton Senna, as Charles [Leclerc] mentioned, who was just such a big hero for so many of us. And when you come out here, you really feel his presence.
“And it’s just such a beautiful culture. And the track is iconic. You know, they don’t build circuits like this anymore.
“So it’s a race that I think all the drivers really love. It’s a race that it’s fun to drive a single lap but the races are very strong here.
“You’ve got that long straight which you can overtake on and the follow through, Turns 1, 2 and 3 and then have a fight down to Turn 4 so a good overtaking place as well,” Hamilton concluded.